They are images that will be ingrained in modern television history: A Southwestern desert. RV. A frightened middle-aged man sporting glasses, a green collared shirt, no pants, and a gun pointing towards the camera. In the course of five years, the desert remained a prominent setting as the RV became obsolete. But most startling—yet thrilling—is the transformation of that middle-aged man named Walter White into the menacing Heisenberg, no longer one who feared but one to be feared.
The AMC original series Breaking Bad has taken viewers on a dark, addicting, and sometimes humorous ride of crime and betrayal since its premiere in January 2008. A brilliant and impactful brainchild of Vince Gilligan, Breaking Bad introduced the world to Walter White (Played by Bryan Cranston) as a high school chemistry teacher diagnosed with cancer. Looking to ensure financial stability for his wife Skyler (Anna Gunn), their disabled teenage son Walt Jr. (RJ Mitte), and their unborn daughter, he collaborates with his former student Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) to make methamphetamine. What starts off as an obviously risky venture escalates into a dangerous and complex double life for Walt. As he and Jesse dodge criminals and drug lords and fight for power in their personal underworld, Walt must not only keep secrets from the members of his household, but also his brother-in-law Hank Schrader (Dean Norris), a highly motivated DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) agent determined to crack down on a meth king known only as Heisenberg. Wait, didn’t I just read that Heisenberg is…? Exactly—the guy Hank is looking for has been in front of him all along.
That is where the final episodes of the series have begun. We’ve lost the body count and the number of other tragic and jaw-dropping storylines, but the previous seasons have been building towards a showdown between Walt and Hank. After all, it is Walt’s fault that Hank almost got killed by Tuco Salamanca’s cousins in season 3. Even more, there is now increased tension between Skyler—who has long known about Walt’s secrets after the first couple of seasons—and her sister [Hank's wife] Marie (Betsy Brandt), who physically lashed out at Skyler after learning of Walt’s connection to Hank’s attempted murder. In last week’s chilling episode entitled “Confessions,” during an immensely awkward dinner between the two couples, Marie even coldly suggested to Walt—whose cancer has come back—to kill himself. But with Walter White being the scheming devil that he is, he handed Hank and Marie a “confession” video, where he tearfully confesses his role in the meth empire but convincingly blames Hank for his actions. The video is sure to bring Hank to shame—or worst—if found.
Hank isn’t the only one out to end Walt’s reign of terror—Walt’s complicated partnership with an emotionally paralyzed Jesse also exploded in last week’s episode. Emotions finally came out in the forms of hatred and rage when Jesse realized that Walt had poisoned his girlfriend Andrea’s son Brock in season 4. After beating up his and Walt’s lawyer Saul (Bob Odenkirk) and threatening his colleagues at their office, Jesse frantically races to the White household, breaks in, and pours gasoline all over the place until the scene cuts. Now we know what may have happened to the house as shown in the season opener!
That eerie first scene—the abandoned house destroyed beyond belief, the “Heisenberg” scrawled on one of the surviving walls, and Walt leaving his poor next-door neighbor Carol utterly dumbfounded at his appearance and “Hi Carol”—provides some clues as to what might happen in the conclusion of the series. The opener in last year’s premiere—where Walt takes on a similar appearance with the hair, looks more aged, and takes a look at a machine gun in the trunk of a car—has also stirred up some curiosity. I looked at both of those particular scenes, but also thought a lot about what we’ve seen in this series so far, to concoct my personal predictions about how Breaking Bad will end once and for all.
What won’t happen:
Walter won’t kill himself, even if Marie vocally wants him to. For a man who is still devoted to his family, a quick and easy death by choice would be too painful, particularly for Walt Jr. Walt Sr. is also a man who doesn’t let up. He will stay alive to wreak more havoc. Even though his cancer has come back, I also don’t see him dying from the cancer. If Walt dies, he will be murdered.
All you and I both know is that one main character or more will die.
My personal predictions (for what’s most likely to happen):
1. Walt kills Jesse, Hank, and Skylar. Marie lives and takes care of Walt Jr. and Holly. However, he somehow fakes his own death. How and when he’ll kill all of them has yet to be determined in my mind and while the season 5 opener featuring Walt at the diner can be interpreted in many ways, it’s totally possible that he is on the run for murder. We see in that scene that Walt gives the waitress a New Hampshire license with a totally different name, which could mean he is concealing his identity. After an encounter with a strange man, he opens the trunk to a car and finds an M60 machine gun with a thousand rounds of ammunition. What will Walt do with that gun? What did he do before to deserve it? By eliminating Jesse, Hank, and Skylar, he will truly become the most wanted man in New Mexico, so he can no longer be Walter White. If this theory holds, he will take on that new identity for the rest of his life, in hiding. He would never be able to come back to his kids because of all the lives he has taken and the people he has hurt. However, I think a possible ending scene would include Walt Jr. stumbling upon Walt’s fortune and asking a speechless Marie about where all that money came from.
2. Hank kills Walt. This is what the finale has already come down to: a brotherly war of what is considered morally right (Hank representing law and authority) and morally evil (Walt as a criminal). While Walt is relentless and can kill his loved ones in cold blood, it can certainly go the other way with the show’s anti-hero being killed by the man who once trusted him. If this happens, I believe it’ll come after the scene where he enters the destructed and abandoned house in a surprise twist. Hank and Marie live and take care of the kids, as Skylar had died before Walt did. (Her death will be at the hands of Walt, Jesse, herself, or someone connected to Gus Fring’s operation).
3. Hank kills himself. Skylar dies. Jesse dies. Marie lives and takes care of Walt Jr. and Holly. Walt lives but fakes his own death. Similar to scenario 1, except Walt doesn’t fatally harm Hank. Instead, he is so overwhelmed by all that he has found out about this case and is perhaps even disgraced by his colleagues and superiors at the DEA for not coming forward that he goes completely insane and chooses to end it all. Perhaps they even get a hold of Walt’s convincing yet conniving confession video and believe the web of lies he spun to make Hank look like the villain.
Although there is a multitude of ways the series can end, I have the strongest inklings that Jesse and Skyler will be the unlucky ones. First off, there is this overwhelming pictorial evidence that future Walt takes on something from Jesse. As for Skyler, remember when Walt was shaping his bacon as the number 52 on his plate at the diner at the beginning of season 5? In a later episode that follows the present-day storyline, it is revealed that Skyler does that for him every year, as shown on his 51st birthday. Sure, maybe Walt is merely running away from home, but perhaps he continues the tradition as a grim tribute to her. If someone truly wanted to hurt Walt, they would go after Skyler, who became an accomplice to his schemes and locked away his darkest secrets as the series progressed. Plus, she’s simply the easiest target, as opposed to the innocent children who have absolutely no idea what their parents are up to.
Ultimately though, there’s no knowing what will happen until it actually happens. That’s part of what has made Breaking Bad a drug to faithful viewers. Each episode has brought surprises and shockers, and many of them hit and drag you away like a freight train you never saw coming. And so, my predictions should definitely not be taken to heart. The next four episodes should continue to deliver the suspense, twists, and thrills we’ve come to enjoy in the worst way, and something that will ultimately break our hearts. As you watch these final episodes, just remember: it never felt so good to feel so bad.
Your turn to talk, folks: How do you think Breaking Bad will end? Anything goes!